As reported in NJ.Com. the Mayors of the three South Hunterdon municipalities with local police forces are talking about a regionalized department and are moving forward with the support of county Prosecutor Anthony P. Kearns III and Freeholder Rob Walton.
The mayors of Lambertville, West Amwell and Delaware Townships advocate a police merger. A state-funded study several years ago recommended merging the Lambertville and West Amwell police departments. East Amwell was brought into the fold thereafter. In 2010 Lambertville and West Amwell officials formed a committee to explore the concept, which was embraced at the time by Lambertville. West Amwell officials and residents had reservations at the time, and Delaware Township officials had opted against taking part in the study.
Now, Delaware Mayor Ken Novak is saying, “We each may be different, but we all share in the need for effective community policing. A regional police force can meet that need.” According to West Amwell Mayor George Fisher, “From a financial standpoint, consolidating our forces can create a more sustainable force over the long run.” Pooling resources, the mayor say, would eliminate duplicative administrative work, expand cost-sharing purchases and could lead to better technology and upgrades toward better “readiness and response.”
This decision to engage in this study comes on the heals of the State supported creation of a county wide police force in Camden County. When this occurred, Unions were busted, jobs were lost, and benefits were decreased. Consolidation of public safety services must be closely followed with these concerns in mind.